This game had pretty much everything an A’s fan could ask for. Brett Anderson pitched a spectacular 6.1 innings, getting out of multiple jams and holding the Rays scoreless through the first six innings. The A’s defence had a bevy of highlight plays, including multiple gems from Matt Olson and an early scorching stop by Chapman. The biggest highlight of the afternoon was Ramon Laureano’s go-ahead grand slam in the 8th, as he shut down the Rays and put the game out of reach.
From the get-go the A’s were seeing Chirinos’ pitches quite well. While they went down 1-2-3 in the 1st, both Matts had an easy time seeing the Yonny’s splitters jumping out of the zone. There was only one pitch outside of the zone that the A’s offered a swing at in the 1st, a 92mph sinker in the middle of Olson’s AB. Chirinos was unable to fool
The Rays jumped ahead of Brett Anderson early, with two balls in the air to centre field for early base runners. Brett turned the inning around with a 3-pitch fastball strike out against Avaisal Garcia. The strikeout in combination with a pair of ground outs got Anderson out of the inning, keeping it scoreless. Matt Chapman had a highlight play fielding a 113mph grounder burning down the line, and tossing to Olson to end the inning.
Khris Davis popped the first pitch he saw in the 2nd into the outfield for the A’s first hit of the night. Khris boogied off of first on a Grossman double to left, but got tagged out as his leg popped up on the slide in to third.
Anderson came back with a solid 3-up-3-down inning, gaining his second K of the night off of 4 pitches to Guillermo Heredia. Almost as if he was trying to make up for the rough start to the game, Anderson seemed locked in. 9 pitches using his whole repertoire, these are the kinds of innings you want out of Anderson.
Beau Taylor had a liner single to get his first hit of 2019, bouncing the ball in front of Tommy Pham in left field. Beau moved to second off of a Semien single to right field. Neither runner came around to score after Chirinos struck out both Matts. Olson’s K came off of a ball below his knees of his 6’5” frame, the low strike was being called for the Rays more than the A’s, and this was reinforced by Bob Melvin’s ejection in the 3rd. Melvin was ejected from the dugout after apparently complaining about the previous call against Olson.
Looks as if Bob Melvin may have been tossed. He had a heated discussion with home-plate umpire Sean Barber, and I'm guessing the gist was that Brett Anderson isn't getting that low strike we just had seen called on Matt Olson (see previous tweet).— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) June 12, 2019
Matt Olson started the bottom of the 3rd off with a fantastic catch to keep Arroyo off of the base paths. Taking two steps to his right and spinning to catch the the ball in the air, both Matts have been showing why they’re Gold Glove winners today.
After the great defence by Olson, Anderson got into a spot of trouble again with Diaz and Pham both singling. Anderson got out of the inning with the help of an unorthodox play. Off of Andersons first movement Diaz broke for second, but Anderson was able to toss to Chapman and tag out Yandy Diaz on the base path, barely off of second base. After that, Meadows flew out, and Anderson escaped another jam.
Khris Davis hit a double off of the wall in right centre, taking a low sinker for a ride. Davis advanced to third base off of Piscotty’s fly out, and scored as Ramon Laureano reached base off of a tapper to to Willy Adames. What should have ended the inning instead gave the A’s the lead as Adames could not get the ball out of his glove to first for the force. Ramon took advantage of the gift, stealing second AND third base before Profar flew out to end the top of the 4th.
The A’s finished the 4th without much trouble. What could have been the first out was a 105mph blast to Semien’s glove, just popping out and taking enough time to do so that Marcus could not throw out Garcia. Anderson used the A’s fielders for the rest of the inning, aside from hitting Daniel Robertson with a pitch, every other plate appearance ended with a ball in play, out by the fielders.
Chirinos has his first 1-2-3 inning since the 1st, striking out Taylor and Chapman, and getting Semien out on a grounder. While last inning Chirinos looked shaken by the Adames misplay, he came back to the 5th with a fury.
The defensive stars continued to shine in the 5th, as Marcus snagged a grounder that was about to roll past him, and fired to an extended Olson to catch Diaz out by a step. With two strikeouts around the great play and and a Pham single, Anderson cruised through the 5th.
Matt Olson teased Chirinos with a foul bunt before overpowering the ball to right field with a 111mph 430 foot lead off home run. That’s 11 dingers in less than 30 games for Matt Olson, who has kept his power and creeps his average into the .230s.
With 2 outs Grossman worked Chirinos into a walk after a 0-2 count. The walk seemed to get to Yonny, as after an extra long mound visit and 2 pickoff attempts, Chirinos finally started pitching to Laureano getting him to fly out. As Chirinos’ pitch count crested 100 pitches with the Laureano AB, his night was over.
Brett went back to work for his half of the inning, clearing it 1-2-3 in 9 pitches, and keeping the Rays off of the board. Anderson has been effective through the whole game
Ryne Stanek, yesterday’s opener came in to pitch for the Rays. While he has been locked in for the first inning of games, coming in for relief has been more of a struggle for Stanek this season. Stanek struck out Profar, then after 9 pitches almost entirely to the outside half of the plate Stanek walked Beau Taylor. Beau fought through the AB, fouling off multiple 99mph pitches. The Rays got out of the inning after a Semien fly out and Matt Chapman’s third strikeout of the game
Brett Anderson is back out for the 7th, and got a quick first ground out. While he had a 0-2 count against Heredia, Brett threw 4 straight balls to walk him including a low slider with a very close checked swing. After a pop hit to centre that Laureano could not reach with a slide put Heredia in scoring position, Brett got the hook, and Liam Hendriks was called in.
Hendriks’ third pitch to Christian Arroyo was blasted over Laureano’s head to score the first run for the Rays, and put both runners into scoring position with a double. Tommy Pham struck out, his first out of the night, and the A’s second of the inning. After intentionally walking Austen Meadows to load the bases Garcia drilled the ball on the ground to Semien, after a moment of hesitation Marcus threw to second base. The throw was not in time, and the bases stayed loaded with two outs, and the Rays tied the game. Hendriks settled down to strike out d’Arnaud and end the inning, but the Rays damage had been done.
The Rays put in Adam Kolarek to pitch against Matt Olson.
Matt Olson hit the first pitch to left field for a single.
The Rays took out Adam Kolarek.
After one pitch, the Rays took their LOOGY out, and Khris Davis was up against Chaz Roe. Roe threw 7 straight sliders to Davis, none of which were close to the zone, including the last slider that Khris waved at to strike out. Roe continued to throw outside the zone, but this time on the 3-2 count he walked Piscotty with a slider inside, getting the go-ahead run into scoring position. Roe’s first pitch to Grossman bounced behind Robbie’s feet and rolled to the backstop allowing both A’s runners to advance. After another ball, Grossman was given an intentional walk, and with only one out the Rays took out Roe and brought in Colin Poche.
In his third major league appearance, Poche threw two fastballs to the top of the zone, another two fastballs half a foot above Laureano’s head, another high fastball was fouled off before Ramon connected with the first pitch of the AB thrown around belt level. The ball kept travelling over Pham’s head and dropped past the left field wall for Ramon Laureano’s first career grand slam!
Profar was out on a fly foul ball off the first pitch, Poche grazed Beau Taylor to put him on, and Semien flew out to end the inning.
Lou Trivino came in for the A’s, giving up a leadoff single to Willy Adames, but Matt Olson’s quick arm erased the runners after Robertson grounded into a 3-6-3 double play. Heredia rolled the ball through the gap in left to single, and Arroyo reached on what is usually a routine play for Matt Chapman. He charged a ball down the 3B foul line but the ball rolled out of his hand on the transfer, stopping Chapman from ending the inning. With 2 on, 2 out, and a full count, Sweet Lou challenged Yandy Diaz with a low fastball in the corner. Diaz laid off, but it was in the zone and Trivino was out of the inning.
Matt Chapman worked a walk off of 9 Oliver Drake pitches, avoiding the golden sombrero and fouling a ball back into the Ray’s press box, denting an unsuspecting coffee tumbler. Olson also took his AB to a full count, but hit a fly out deep to centre. Khris followed suit, with a second fly out to Heredia. Drake tagged Piscotty for a swinging strike out, and the A’s moved to the bottom of the 9th looking to close out the win.
It was Treinen’s turn for the bottom of the 9th, with a 4 run lead. Blake threw three identical sinkers to the low outside corner, and none of them were called for strikes, but Pham hit into a groundout to keep the bases clear. Treinen struck out Meadows swinging on a low 98mph slider, and then secured the win with Garcia swinging at an inside fastball to strike out.
The A’s were not overpowering on offence today, though they came through when it mattered, Olson has continued his resurgence and Laureano has stayed hot, but aside from the 6 RBI from those two, there wasn't too much happening at the plate.
Khris’ swing looks a bit more natural again though the results still need to follow a bit more. Today’s game was promising with a pair of hits, but Khris’ AB against Roe is still troubling with Davis being lured into big swings against breaking balls way outside.
It was a quiet game for Chapman, Piscotty, and Profar as they amounted to 6 of the A’s 11 strikeouts, and 0 of their 9 hits.
Brett Anderson handled the Rays in a way that is not reflected well from his no decision, nor from the box score. While he was in a few jams, at no point did he diverge from his usual plan of quick pitches, outs on the field, and limiting balls in the air. While the umpiring was controversial enough to get Bob Melvin ejected, Brett worked around it to have a good showing. This is the exact kind of start the A’s want to get out of Anderson, working through a quality start, limiting bullpen usage, and keeping stress to a minimum.
With today’s early win the Athletics record hops up above .500 once again, sitting at 35-34. They also win the series against the Rays 2-1, and have a winning road trip with a 6-4 record.
No game tomorrow as the A’s make their way back to the Bay. Next game is Friday night as Chris Bassitt and the Athletics take on the Mariners and Marco Gonzales.